Summary: Once Jonah finished giving his testimony about the God of the Hebrews, the crew began asking more questions seeeking the "Why" of his leaving such a God as He described.
DIRECT DIALOG DEMANDED DETAILS
What would be the response to Jonah when the sailors heard about his beliefs? The answers were soon forth coming. The scripture tells us that the when the seamen heard about the God whom Jonah worshiped, they were afraid. The original language says that the fear they experienced upon hearing Jonah’s testimony was the type of fear that began and continued to keep growing. The more they contemplated this God of the Hebrews, the more they became afraid.
Combining this growing fear within the sailors of this awesome God was the fact that a believer in this God had openly defied Him and was now standing in front of them and he was unharmed. While he was standing there espousing to them about his God, the Sea continued to toss, the waves continued to slam up against the sides of this vessel, the sky was still black and the wind was raging as furiously as it was before. Yet, there stood Jonah amidst it all and everyone was frightened and growing more fearful as the minutes passed. Once the sailors discovered the truth about Jonah, they were certain that they were all going to pay a very heavy price due to the association with such a renegade.
Not fully comprehending the full impact of Jonah’s disobedience, and amidst the ever surging plight of fear in their hearts, the sailors asked Jonah a very pertinent and a very personal question, “Why did you do what you did? Why did you flee from this awesome God?” Jonah had no logical explanation to give his questioners.
That same question can be asked to every person who once claimed the name of Jesus and then left Him, “Why did you leave Christ?” Every backslider needs to be asked this same question, “Why did you leave Christ?” Jesus said that any one who starts toward the Kingdom of God and looks back is not worthy of that Kingdom-He was right.
I had a student in four college classes over a period of two years. When I first met her, she informed me that she had married a Moslem yet she remained a Catholic. The last class she was in as one of my students, she informed me that she had switched her faith and became a Moslem. The question I have for her is, “Why did you leave following Christ?”
These sailors asked this very personal question to Jonah and he had no answer. What they meant by their query was, “If this God is as awesome as you say He is, why did you run from Him?” He remained silent as did my student and millions of others who have embraced God through Christ’s shed Blood and vowed their belief in Him as being the only God, only to leave Him later. “Why?”
I see three parts to these sailors’ question that day so long ago. The first one is that Jonah had DISCREDITED this Holy God and they wanted to know why. The next part of this question is why did Jonah decided to dwell in such DARKNESS since this God of the Hebrews created light. The last part of the question has to do with any hope of a divine DELIVERANCE could Jonah anticipate after he left off following the God whom he had just abandon? The answers were forth coming, but the consequences of such action by Jonah left a lasting imprint on them and on all who would dare to imitate Jonah. “Why hast thou done this, Jonah?”
I. DISCREDITED: These pagan sailors could not believe what they had just heard and the reality that this renegade was still standing before them alive and unhurt. However, the question they asked him was one of dynamite. By their inference, they were simply telling Jonah that he had completely put this God of his to open shame.
The inference that is drawn for the question is simple. “If this God of Jonah was the real and true God, then how did Jonah square his actions with the Divine being?” By his running away from this awesome God, Jonah had just discredited his Divine God, and the question was, “How could he do this to such a God as he claimed to follow?” Something was wrong with the equation as far as the sailors could see. On one hand Jonah had proceeded to exclaim that his God was the supreme God and yet, Jonah decided to run away from him. Jonah had, on his own, decided to turn his back on the very God of the universe and the sailors wanted to know, “Why hast thou done this?”